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Story of O - 13

What happens when Hollywood’s elite wants to party for charitable reasons? Well, the location becomes Cannes at Festival time, the venue becomes a multi-million pound yacht and event management company GSP is enlisted to produce the party. Sat Bal hopped on board. (24 May'07)

A glittering show of  philanthropy for the humanitarian crisis in Darfur was spearheaded by the cast of Warners Bros’ Ocean’s 13which had its recent world premiere at the 60th Cannes Film Festival. 

Resembling a Robin Hood-style reverse Ocean’s plot, the film’s main stars succeeded in acquiring money for the needy when the privileged came out to party. 

The party host and film’s producer, Jerry Weintraub, ushered on board George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Ellen Barkin and Shaobo Qin, among others, ensuring that the yacht RM Elegant lived up to its name.

 

Clooney unwinds at the Ocean's 13 party

Elegance was also the name of GSP’s game. “RM Elegant was berthed in Cap d’Antibes in what’s known as ‘the billionaire’s berth’ says GSP co-director, Emma Gold. “The yacht was already very well furnished with the kind of luxury interior one would expect of such a vessel and this influenced a stylish but understated party theme.”

Complementing, rather than competing with, the surroundings meant that GSP used enhancements such as mirrored plinths bearing orchids and white furniture with hints of lilac and silver to blend with RM Elegant’s porcelain interior. 

"We met George, Brad and the rest of the cast and the whole thing can only be described as a surreal experience!”    Emma Gold, GSP

“We handled all the logistics including the flowers, bars and caterers, all from London,” explains Gold."Cast security was key and this was handled by Warners who closed down the marina for the duration of the event.”

 

"Are you sure this is RM Elegant, George?"

 

Security issues combined with OK! magazine’s exclusive media rights to the party meant that the stars weren’t exactly out. “The cast couldn’t go onto the exposed top deck because of the risk of being photographed by paparazzi,” says Gold. 

 

Brad Pitt at the party

 

“Altogether we catered for 140 guests comprising the cast and their friends, the Warners contingent and sponsors. The fact that the event was staged on a yacht did mean honouring customs such as asking guests to remove shoes before boarding.”

One wonders what Jimmy Choo chief, Tamara Mellon, made of this maritime quirk.The Darfur charity focus saw sponsors such as Chopard donate a large sum of money for this and it was rumoured that tickets were sold for a million dollars. 

Guests ruminated over delicacies prepared by London’s Cellar Catering Company, which included iced bowls of fresh brown shrimp, spinach-wrapped nicoise tuna sashimi and chargilled langoustine skewers with lemon and parsley.

 

GSP's Emma Gold stays vigilant

 

London uber-club, The Cuckoo Club let loose its mixologists who concocted a whirl of gin-based Wonderwall and  Cuckoo Delight cocktails. “Drinks were supplied by Moet & Chandon, Grey Goose vodka and Martini,” Gold says. “They were all donated for the charity element.” 

In fact, the altruism saw all services - including GSP’s - donated for the Darfur benefit. 

“The cast took the event very seriously and arrived at the appointed time of 8pm,” Gold remarks with near incredulity. “And they stayed until the party wound down at around 12.30. It was a great success and picked up the prized 5 out 5 Martini-glass rating and, crucially, raised $10m for Darfur as well as drawing media attention to the crisis.”

Event management on this scale isn’t for the faint-hearted. So how does a troubleshooting event director cope with the French Riviera rippling behind her while Messrs Clooney et al. shimmer before her? “I’m not a celeb star-struck kind of person,” reflects Gold “but I have to admit that we met George, Brad and the rest of the cast and the whole thing can only be described as a surreal experience!”

 

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